Ramacaritamanasa in South Africa

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Ramacaritamanasa in South Africa
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The book contains the role of the Ramacaritamanasa in the lives of Hindi-speaking indentured labourers and their progeny in South Africa; and their perceptions of Sri Rama and the Ramacaritamanasa. The South African Hindus of Hindi-speaking origin cherish the Ramacaritamanasa as scripture and delve deep into the lake of Sri Rama's Acts to gain solace and guidance. Its role as an agent of religio-cultural continuity among Hindi-speaking Hindus clearly indicates its importance in the years to come.

About The Author

USHA DEVI SHUKLA was born and educated in Natal, South Africa. Her nurture in a culturally conscious family and environment led her to study Hindi as one of her major subjects at the University of Durban Westville, South Africa. Shukla's research into the Ramacaritamanasa in South Africa and the Hindi Diaspora opened many vistas of research and contact with Indians of indentured origin.

Her nurture in a cultural family and environment led her to study Hindi as one of her major subjects at the University of Durban Westville, South Africa. She soon joined the former Department of Indian Languages as Lecturer in Hindi and obtained the M.A. and D. Lit. degrees in Hindi Literature.

Shukla's research into the Ramacaritamanasa in South Africa and the Hindi Diaspora opened many vistas of research and contact with Indians of indentured origin. This created greater enthusiasm for the propagation of Hindi; and in her academic and community-based work in this field, she has been hailed as one of the most successful teachers of Hindi in South Africa.

Her inspiring lectures and public addresses have done much to create new interest in the cultural sphere amongst Hindus in South Africa. She continues in her research and teaching programmes as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Literature at the University of Durban Westville.


Preface VII
Acknowledgements XIII
List of Tables XXI
Scheme for Romanization of Words in Nagari XXIII
Chapter One: Introduction 1
1.1 Subject of Study: Perceptions of the Ramacaritamanasa of Gosvami Tulsidasa amongst Hindi-Speaking South Africans 1
1.2 Scope 2
1.3 Aims 3
1.4 Methodology 3
1.5 Some Problems 4
Chapter Two: The Evolution of the Rama Story and the Bhakti Movement 7
2.1 The Origin of the Rama Story 7
2.2.1 Valmiki 10
2.2.2 The Ramayana 10
2.3.1 Bhakti and its Origin 15
2.3.2 The Bhakti Movement 17
2.3.3 The Reformer Saints of The Bhakti Movements 19
2.4.1 Ramanujacarya 20
2.4.2 Ramananda 22
2.4.3 Kabirdasa 24
Chapter Three: Gosvami Tulsidasa and the Ramacaritamanasa 27
3.1 Childhood and Education 27
3.1.1 Marriage 29
3.1.2 Tulsidasa and the Ramacaritamanasa 32
3.2 The Ramacaritamanasa 35
3.3 The Religious Influence of Ramacaritamanasa 37
3.3.1 Avatara 41
3.2.2 Religious Harmony in the Ramacaritamanasa 43
3.3.3 Conciliatory Attitude of Tulsidasa 45 Vaisnavas and Saivites 45 Questions Regarding the Divinity of Sri Rama 46 Nirguna and Saguna Isvara 48 Vrdanta: Jivatma - Paramatatma, Maya 50 Karma 51 Gunas 52 Bhakti 54
3.3.4 Impact of the Ramacaritamanasa 56
3.3.5 Present-Day Influence of the Ramacaritamanasa 57 Worship 57 Akhanda Kirtan at Janmasthana in Ayodhya 61 "Ramayana" Video Series 64 Festivals Connected with Sri Rama and His Life 65
3.4 Social and Political Influence of the Ramacaritamanasa 66
3.4.1 Caste System 70
3.4.2 The World 72
3.4.3 Equality 73
3.4.4 Status of Women 74
3.4.5 Family Life 76
3.4.6 The Asramas 76
3.4.7 Characters 78 Laksmana 78 Bharata 78 Hanuman 79
3.4.8 Ramarajya - Perfect Rule of Sri Rama 81
3.4.9 Social and Political Influence Today 83 The "Ramayan" of Ramanand Sagar 83 "Do or Die" Campaign 84
3.5 Literary Influence of the Ramacaritamanasa 86
3.5.1 The Epic - Mahakavya 89
3.5.2 Dharma Grantha (Scripture) 90
3.5.3 Form, Style, and Literary Motifs of the Ramacaritamanasa 90
3.5.4 Decorum (Maryada) 92
3.5.5 The Impact of the Ramacaritamanasa on Literature 94 Hindi Version of the Ramayana 95
3.5.6 The Ramacaritamanasa Today 99
Chapter Four: The Ramacaritamanasa and The Early Settlers in South Africa 103
4.1 Earl Period of the Indians in South Africa 104
4.1.1 The Hindi-Speaking Immigrants - Religious 106
4.1.2 The Hindi-Speaking Immigrants and the Ramacaritamanasa 112
4.1.3 Literacy amongst the Hindi Speakers 117
4.2 Perceptions of the Ramacaritamanasa amongst the Early Hindi Settlers 120
4.3 The Establishment of Ramayana Sabhas 124
4.3.1 The Shree Ramayan Sabha (SRS) of Overport 128
4.3.2 Sri Luxmi Narayan Temple Ramayan Sabha 129
4.3.3 Ramayana Sabhas in the Springfield Area 130
4.3.4 Ramayana Sabhas in the Verulam Area 131
4.3.5 Ramayana Sabhas in the Stanger Area 131
4.3.6 Ramayana Sabhas in the cato Manor 133
4.4 Development in Perceptions of the Ramacaritamanasa 135
4.5 Dislocation and Decline of Ramayana Sabhas 138
4.5.1 Natural Causes 138
4.5.2 Group Areas Act 139
4.6 The Institutionalization of the Ramacaritamanasa 141
4.7 The Ramayana in the 1980s 143
4.7.1 The Ramayana Sabha 143
4.7.2 Akhanda Ramayana 145
4.8 Festivals in Honour of Rama 146
4.8.1 Ramanavami 146
4.8.2 Dipavali 148
4.8.3 Hanuman Jayanti 148
4.9 General Observations 148
Chapter Five: Present Day Present Day Perceptions of The Ramacaritamanasa 151
5.1 General Information 152
5.1.1 Hindi Education 154
5.2 Religious Affiliation 156
5.3 Satsang 156
5.3.1 General Satsang 156
5.3.2 Ramayana Satsang 158
5.4 Ramayana and Personal Life 162
5.5 Ramayana and Family Life and Social Life 170
5.5.1 Family Life 170
5.5.2 Social Life 172
5.6 Knowledge of the Ramayana: Its Characters and Concepts 173
5.6.1 Attitude to Sri Rama 175
5.6.2 Attitude to Sita and Women in General 176
5.6.3 Attitude to Sri Rama's Actions 177
5.6.4 Attitude to Caste in the Ramayana 179
5.6.5 Ramarajya - Ideal Government 179
5.6.6 Likes and Dislikes of the Ramayana 181
5.6.7 Ramayana as Religious and Moral Guide 185
5.6.8 Feelings Stirred through the Rama Story 187
5.7.1 Worship 188
5.7.2 Forms of Prayer 190
5.7.3 Hanuman Worship 192
5.7.4 Nirguna Rama and Saguna Rama 193
5.7.5 Influence of Ramayana in Daily Life 194
5.7.6 Adherence to Doctrines of Hinduism 195
5.7.7 Summary of Findings 196
Chapter Six: Conclusion 199
Appendices 203
I. Hanuman Arati by Swami Ramananda 205
II. Invocation to Tulasidasa by Nandadasa 207
III. Eulogy of Tulsidasa and his Ramacaritamanasa by Suradasa 209
IV. Eulogy of Tulsidasa and his Ramacaritamanasa by Rasakhan 211
V. Sri Rama Bhajan by Pandit Ramnath Shukla 213
VI. Sri Ramayanaji Ki Arati by Gosvami Tulsidasa 215
Bibliography 217
Index 223

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